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Why Pooping During Childbirth Might Actually Be a Good Thing

by Sarah Klein, Health.com

If you’re not a mom, here’s something you might not know about birthing a baby. When you’re going about it the old-fashioned way—aka delivering vaginally—you just might poop while you’re pushing.

Yep, right there on the delivery table or in your bathtub or any other place you’ve elected to partake in the miracle of childbirth. In front of your doctor, doula, midwife, partner, family... and birth photography crew.

“A lot of patients may think, ‘Oh my gosh! I don’t want to!’” says Christine Greves, MD, an ob-gyn at Orlando Health Hospital, and really, who could blame them?

But ob-gyns swear that pooping during delivery is totally normal—and it might even be a good thing.

For starters, it means you get an A+ on the whole pushing thing. “When we tell a woman to push, they use all of their might and their entire pelvic floor to try to get the baby out,” Dr. Greves explains. “If there’s pooping involved, that’s just a sign you’re using the correct muscles.” She promises that any professional attending your birth is accustomed to this, and they'll usually wipe away any poop before you have time to realize and become mortified by what has happened.

Squeamish moms-to-be often inquire about getting an enema before labor to help them avoid any embarrassment. While pre-delivery enemas used to be more common, modern doctors and midwives don't usually recommend this, says Annette Fineberg, MD, an ob-gyn at Sutter Health in Davis, California.

Also, it’s not wise to avoid using your pelvic floor muscles during delivery in an attempt to avoid pooping. “Please use those muscles, so I know you can get that baby out safely!” Dr. Greves says. In fact, when the pros coach new moms on how to push, they’ll usually say something along the lines of “Push like you’re having a bowel movement,” Dr. Fineberg adds.

It’s obviously not something anyone really wants to do in front of another human being. But Dr. Fineberg offers one nugget of comfort if you do poop: “There’s only a finite amount. It’s going to stop—it’s not like you’re doing it the whole time!”... Read more on Health.com